Revealed: RMT union chief who threatened to shut down British railways this summer is a Putin apologist and a senior member of the Communist Party supporting pro-Russian separatists
A union tycoon planning a summer of rail chaos is a senior member of the Communist Party who has backed pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.
Alex Gordon, president of the RMT union, is a longtime Marxist who has echoed Kremlin propaganda calling Ukraine “a failed state held at ransom by neo-Nazis.”
The radical ex-train driver protested outside the Ukrainian embassy in London in 2015 after Moscow’s invasion of Crimea, wearing a black and orange St George’s ribbon, a symbol of Russian military prowess.
Just as the RMT is threatening to plunge Britain into the largest rail strike in modern history. More than 40,000 employees are on a continuous strike over wages and jobs. If members back the move, millions of passengers will endure rail misery as early as next month.
RMT union president Alex Gordon, a longtime Marxist, has echoed Kremlin propaganda calling Ukraine “a failed state held for ransom by neo-Nazis”
Rail industry sources say the RMT is already Britain’s most radical union but has moved more to the left over the past year.
A senior source said: “We will never understand why the RMT would have called for a strike vote when the railway was on life support before there had even been any proper talks.”
“Communists and Putin sympathizers have taken over key positions in the union leadership. They are trying to drag rank-and-file railway workers into a confrontation that will seriously damage everyone working on the railway.
Mr Gordon chairs the RMT’s governing National Executive Committee. But he was also an important figure in the British Communist Party, serving on both the executive committee and the political committee. The 55-year-old is also chairman of the Marx Memorial Library in north London, where communist dictator Vladimir Lenin worked during his exile in Russia.
Just as the RMT is threatening to plunge Britain into the largest rail strike in modern history.Over 40,000 employees consecutively selected for strike action on pay and jobs
Eight years ago, Mr Gordon, who co-owns a £500,000 flat in London, helped launch solidarity with the Anti-Fascist Resistance Movement in Ukraine (SARU), a movement group promoting the Kremlin’s line that Ukraine is made up of” far-right regime”.
In May 2015, he was one of 60 demonstrators who protested the death of pro-Russian protesters in clashes in Odessa outside the Ukrainian embassy in London.
On the day Vladimir Putin’s army invaded Ukraine in February, Mr Gordon called Defence Secretary Ben Wallace a “delusional bragging” for suggesting Britain could “kick Russia in the back” .
In March, RMT assistant general secretary Eddie Dempsey visited the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine in 2015, where he posed for a photo with a pro-Russian separatist commander.
An RMT spokesman said last night that the union “does not support Vladimir Putin or his actions in Ukraine”, adding: “As RMT chairman, Alex Gordon agrees with the union’s position.”
Voting on the RMT will close on May 24 and members are expected to overwhelmingly support strike action.
Unions want Network Rail to scrap plans to cut 2,500 jobs as part of a £2bn cut in spending. It also wants train operating companies to raise wages based on inflation.
But the Mail on Sunday has learned that RMT has been embroiled in a bitter internal dispute that has led to a small group of former members protesting outside its London offices for 75 days since January.
The spat, which centred on the firing of former RMT education organiser Petrit Mihaj, has led to calls for union bosses not to cross “picket lines” outside RMT headquarters. The union said it was not an official picket and accused Mihaj of a “protest stunt”.
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